Statement by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov on the situation around the start of Russian humanitarian aid delivery to the southeastern regions of Ukraine

Submitted on Thu, 08/21/2014 - 22:00

We have, of course, paid attention to a number of statements by Ukrainian officials accusing us. The situation is presented as if Russia were on the verge of violating international law by sending a humanitarian aid convoy to the population of the southeastern regions of Ukraine. Ukrainian officials are not refraining from addressing direct insults at us. This is on their conscience, though appropriate conclusions should be made about the moral qualities of those who have voiced these views.

Now, regarding politics and international law. It is specifically Kiev, with Western patrons clearly standing behind it, that is responsible for all measures in recent days to disrupt this vital humanitarian action. Officials have invented innumerable excuses and have erected bureaucratic hurdles that have proven more difficult to negotiate than to navigate the roads, pitted with craters from Ukrainian shells, along which our trucks are travelling. Until the last moment, Kiev clearly hoped that this deliberate time-wasting game would have its desired effect. The Ukrainian authorities needed time in order to try to complete the military operation to suppress a protest by their own people, flooding with blood and tears the place where Russian humanitarian relief aid is now being delivered. They did not succeed.

Citing international law, which we have observed and always will, is an attempt to shift the blame. We are operating in full compliance with international humanitarian law. We cannot and will not tolerate the plight of people living in the protesting southeast of Ukraine any longer.

I am sure that on the heels of Kiev’s insinuations, hypocritical moralising directed at us will follow from other capitals in the coming hours and days. The primitive and predictable nature of everything we hear from the West is not worth much comment. Our preemptive response is this: before you teach others how to live, start with yourself. Consider the extent to which your words match your own actions. We are confident that we are in the right. And we charge Kiev and the countries standing behind it with repeatedly putting their own political interests, which are essentially anti-Russian, above the immutable standards of humanity and compassion.

22 August 2014